Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

29 April 2013
Cold and wintery on the Motte !

Chris, Jenny and Jean-Yves had a good morning on the Motte. Chris reported rain below that level but 10cm’s of nice snow on the Rosolin.

Andreas was playing in the Val d’Isere Invitational along with Richard F and Johnny Alpine while I joined my new club and played 15-holes this morning. Millie and Katie are also signed up but with Millie’s heel problem she won’t be able to play until I return from Canada on the 19th of May.

Chris is off to Lyon tomorrow but will be back skiing on Wednesday. Stay tuned!

28 April 2013
A cracking morning on the Pays Desert !

Chris took Jean-Yves, Jenny and Tilly up to the Pays Desert and from the photos it looks like they had a jolly good morning. They had a little fresh snow to play with and a sunny start to the day but they finished the morning with light snow falling, which bodes well for tomorrow. So far in my absence the weather has been better than forecast and Chris is making the most of it. Meanwhile Andreas skied his last day of the season as he’s playing golf tomorrow followed by a trip to Morocco with Tansy.

Katie and I went to the golf course today and hit a few balls (badly), had a drink and shared some crisps, then finished off with a little putting. Millie’s unfortunately on crutches because of a heel problem known as severs syndrome and can hardly walk let alone run around and play. Poor little sausage is being brave but she’s pretty bored already and it’s only been a few days.

I return on Thursday afternoon with Paul W and Derek and I’ll be looking forward to the last three days of what has been a stunning season!

27 April 2013
Made it !

I awoke at 3AM and jumped in the car for my trip back. All went well and I’m off to Viv’s for curry tonight.

Chris had a great ski in the Pays Desert but I’ve no idea what Andreas was up to.

Millie’s quote when she saw my photo at 17 was, “ Oh my god Mummy, would you have married him looking like that?” Bless her !

Stay tuned !

26 April 2013
A good effort by all involved !

It didn’t freeze last night and with grey skies and light drizzle it wasn’t the most inspiring morning, but everyone turned up and we made the most of it. Chris and I headed to the Pissaillas Glacier hoping for a freeze but it was raining lightly even at that altitude so we turned around and just skied piste all morning. It cheered up and the sun poked through occasionally and with the pistes feeling like spring snow we had quite a good ski. I finished off with a little technique and stopped at 12:45, which was a pretty good effort from Sylvie and Mark.

I was impressed with the efforts of many of the ESF instructors this morning as it’s the end of the season, the weather is rubbish, and yet they were working hard for their clients and doing a great job. Totally professional and bravo les Rouges!

Andreas and Cedric made it back from the Femma this morning after an early start. It wasn’t easy but they got the job done and everyone returned safely. Well done boys. JM is out there somewhere and I’m not too sure when he’s planning on returning.

Andy’s visit to Val d’Isere was rounded off last night as the ‘Screamer’ came out of hibernation and put on a quality performance. Andy looked shell-shocked this morning at breakfast saying he’s never heard anything like it in his life. Told you I wasn’t kidding! We had some great laughs this morning and Andy is now off home to Calgary via Lyon, Frankfort and Toronto.

I’m off in the morning and by the look of the forecast I’ve picked a good few days to be away. Check today’s photos as there is a real shocker of me at 17 years-of-age. Pretty scary stuff!

See you tomorrow afternoon girls!

PS I’ll post some updates from England and Chris may do the diary this week as he’ll be skiing every morning.

25 April 2013
Steep and perfect !

After a clear night we had an excellent re-freeze, but with a temperature inversion there was a better freeze down low than on the top of the mountain. Chris and I were headed towards the Crete du Genepy but decided to not waste time ‘skinning’ and just get on with it as the snow texture was already ‘perfect’. We had a great ski down and needed to traverse some avalanche debris on the way out, and my team managed to ‘skin’ above it for some bonus snow after Chris had warned us what lay ahead. Thanks JC! From there my team skied a beautiful run in the Arcelle before ‘skinning’ up to the Col de la Madeleine for a stunning run down the middle of the steep slopes between the Arcelle and the Cugnai. The texture was perfect for everyone to feel comfortable and be positive as it can be intimidating if you get there a little early when the snow is still firm. We finished off working our way through the strips of snow in the Marmottons and Marmottes, which again was excellent all the way to the bottom. (The re-freeze at lower altitudes came in handy as the morning wore on) It was a brilliant morning of spring skiing and it’s always a treat to ski the big slopes of the Arcelle and Marmottons/Marmottes.

Meanwhile, Chris headed to the Fornet after the tour through the Charvet and he reported fantastic skiing up there as well. I’m not too sure what all he skied but he definitely had a good one over the Col Pers and down the ‘funky’ exit, which is always atmospheric. Andreas and Cedric took their teams to the Femma Refuge so we won’t hear from them until tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s forecast isn’t great but we’ll wait and see. Andy’s four-day introduction couldn’t have been better as he’s enjoyed four totally different days with a change of sector, snow and scenery every day. Brilliant stuff and it’s been a pleasure seeing him again after all these years!

I don’t have anyone to ski with next week so I’m off back to England Saturday morning to visit my girls and play a round of golf before returning on the 2nd for my annual end-of-the-season ski with Derek and his crew. Meanwhile Chris and Thomas will be holding down the fort while I’m gone as Andreas is off to Morocco with Tansy after the Val d’Isere Invitational Golf Day. (They don’t call it ‘Open’ anymore after some rowdy behaviour forced the organizers into limiting the numbers and trying to chose the slightly less rowdy from the don’t-ask-back rowdy’s) Still, Richard Finlay has been asked to play!

Thanks for another great evening of food and football last night John, much appreciated!

PS Today was so good that had it been the last day of the season I’d have had a little cry and returned to England a very contented man. But the show goes on and we’ll try to do our best again tomorrow!

24 April 2013
Less freeze but still great skiing !

Unfortunately we had some cloud cover over night, especially towards the Fornet, and it resulted in a lighter re-freeze, which limits options at this time of year. It was still cloudy this morning towards the Col de Galise so Chris and I headed to the sunshine in Tignes for a wonderful Sachette. It was clean with no one else around and Andy was busy with his camera again and making all the appropriate noises of someone who’s really enjoying their introduction to our stunning environment. It’s fun watching Andy’s face as he anticipates his next view and it’s refreshing witnessing someone taking it all in for the first time. I also had a new French skier, Jean-Eves, who lives in London and he had a pretty big grin throughout the morning as well. From there the freeze was dropping out so we skied the Campanules twice, which was excellent then we finished off with the piste.

Andreas and Cedric were going to try the Tarentaise Tour today but changed their minds due to the lack of freeze and had a great day going over the Col du Palet and ending up in Villaroger.

I worked this afternoon with Johnny and Shaun up at the Fornet working on some technique and then dragged Andrew out for a couple of beers in the sun at the Perdrix. (Dragged is a bit of an exaggeration as Andy was well keen and decided on a second!)

We’re off to Johnny Alpine’s for dinner tonight followed by another Champions League match, and we’re looking forward to that. We thoroughly enjoyed Bayern’s 4-0 trouncing of Barca last night and are hoping for more goals tonight.

23 April 2013
Simply Marvellous !

Wow, what a fantastic day! After skiing Andy around the Motte yesterday I decided to take him up to the Fornet, and with great snow and outstanding slopes he was suitably impressed. We tested the snow off the Laisinant, which supported and had a nice texture, so we headed straight into the Grand Vallon for a few powder turns followed by excellent spring snow on some very imposing runs. (Millie’s Run, or otherwise known as Chez Henry) From there we had one in the Combe du Signal, and again because of the texture it was still lovely skiing without the heat of the sun. Then we hooked up with Chris and headed over the Col for a few powder turns followed by some warm powder before turning to clean spring snow the rest of the way to the bridge. It was still early enough so we ended up skiing three more runs in the Grand Vallon, which just got better and better with the warmth, before finishing off with a salade pissenlis at the Crozet. Andy couldn’t believe the views, the scope of the bowls and exposure of some of the slopes, and he was a busy boy with his camera all morning long. It’s wonderful when a boy from the Canadian Rockies is totally taken by our wonderful domain!

Meanwhile, Andreas has Cedric G from St Foy assisting him on his ‘adventure week’ and they had a fabulous time skiing the North Face of the Grande Motte a couple of times. It’s been years since I’ve been out there (back when Uncle TJ used to drag us out there) and it’s a very atmospheric and potentially intimidating place. Bravo boys and I’m sure Johnny Alpine will be telling us about it at football tonight!

Jean Marc is off tonight to the Refuge du Prariond with Jo H and her husband David, and this transformation will open up his possibilities and make for some brilliant touring.

I was very surprised about how quickly one metre of snow transformed without too much sun and after today’s heat the spring snow will really set-up giving us a couple of cracking mornings as two more days of sunshine are forecast.

22 April 2013
Welcome to town Andrew !

My high school friend Andrew arrived last night and we had a great time catching up over a bottle of wine and supper. Andy looks just like he did 30-years or so ago and it’s fantastic having him here for his first-ever visit to our wonderful domain. It was looking a little glum at breakfast as it was grey and forecast to stay that way, but we decided to go and check out the conditions instead of starting later. We met Louise and our first test off the Verte wasn’t very encouraging but at the top of the Borsat we burst out of the clouds into clear blue skies and an absolutely stunning vista, with just the peaks protruding from a thick sea of cloud. Brilliant and what a first visual for Andy! Chris was just behind us and we dived into the Borsat Nord, which was excellent and deep powder, and when we dropped into the cloud it was just thin enough for us to navigate comfortably. (Thank god because it looked a little intimidating!) From there it was up the Funicular followed by a ride in the cable car and we had a terrific run in winter powder out near the summer t-bar and down to the Leisse chair. Next up was 113-turns on the Rosolin followed by a little ‘skin’ then two runs off the edge of the Genepy and Cairn. It was all much, much better than expected and Andreas, Chris and Henry were all in the neighbourhood doing variations off the Motte. (See photos)

It was forecast to clear this afternoon but it was nicer this morning and it has turned a little grey for the moment. (3:25PM) Sunshine is expected tomorrow and we’ll need to test the snow in the morning before really knowing what’s possible as it’s a tricky time after the big dump and very little direct sunshine to start the transforming process. Fingers crossed!

21 April 2013
My first day off skis !

I had my first day off skis this season and spent a little time packing and cleaning before going to the pool for a sauna, steam, and Jacuzzi. I must admit it felt a little strange wondering what Chris, Andreas and Henry were up to but it was good to relax and sort out a few things. After lunch I went up to Johnny Alpine’s to watch the Tottenham v City match, which burst into life after about 70 minutes, thanks John. Chris sent me some photos of today’s skiing and after a cold night the snow lightened up a little and it looked easier than yesterday. (See photos)

Andreas is starting his ‘Adventure’ week tomorrow so hopefully the weather will be kind to them as know one is too sure about how to deal with one metre of fresh snow at the end of April ! Sunshine and cold nights would be a good start. Good luck to all involved!

I’m waiting for my friend Andy to arrive and I’ll be skiing again tomorrow showing him around as it’s his first trip to Val d’Isere.

Hopefully we’ll get some decent vis so Andy can take in the views and get a taste for what this place is all about!

20 April 2013
Sixty centimetres to date and still snowing hard !

Wow! Fifty, I repeat fifty centimetres of fresh snow fell last night and we went from wonderful spring weather back to winter in a flash! (See photos) Unfortunately too much snow dropped for this time of year and today’s skiing was pretty hard work for the most part. Everyone enjoyed the novelty of knee-deep snow in April but you could hardly turn in it unless it as fairly steep, and this depth of new snow will take ages of sunny weather to transform to spring snow. I don’t want to sound pessimistic because I’m generally an optimistic git but we’d have been much better off with 15cm’s that would have been beautifully ski-able this morning and would have transformed quickly back to spring snow once the sun came out. (The STVI had a staff party last night and nothing was pisted this morning and the Pisteurs didn’t start blasting until 8 o’clock, which led to a 10:35 opening, and all kinds of frustration) Andreas, Chris and Henry were all in action and all the boys made the best of the conditions, well done team.

It’s still snowing massive flakes still at 6:45PM but hopefully they’ll sort the pistes out for the morning and we should have a much easier time of it tomorrow.

I’ve a high school friend Andy, who I haven’t seen in at least thirty years, arriving to spend a few days with me. Andy and I played baseball, basketball, Canadian football, did the teenage drinking and worse, and worked together in the Lake Louise ski school together when we were 18-years-old. Next week is quiet and it will be fantastic to show Andy around and catch up on old times. Looking forward to seeing you Andy!

Sports Report- The Hammers didn’t see much of the ball but we beat Wigan 2-0 to guarantee Premiership football next season. Bravo Big Sam because I personally love you and all you’ve achieved in your career! And with clutch wins Sunderland and Stoke have made it very interesting for Villa who must be getting seriously nervous as Wigan are far from dead and buried. There’s nothing better than a relegation scrape once you’re safe!

I’ve survived my annual lunch with Blue and Nina so excuse me if I’m a little flowery with the update!

19 April 2013
A cracking good 'bonus' day !

The forecast for this morning was horribly miserable and when we arrived at the Gourmandine with bright skies and no sign of rain everyone knew we had a chance of a good ‘bonus’ ski. We had a decent freeze overnight and we started with some lovely spring snow in the Jardin du Borsat Sud followed by a cracking run down the Face du Bellevarde. From there we made our way to the Fornet via the Mattis piste, which was very good as well but by this time the cloud in the valley was swamping us and rapidly taking away our options. From the Laisinant to the Pyramid we needed to rely on the piste markers to navigate as the fog was seriously disorientating. The fog started to thin out as we climbed higher and we managed a nice run on spring snow in the lower Combe du Signal near Henry’s Gulley and then Chris and I teamed up for a Pays Desert hoping that the fog wouldn’t continue to climb and spoil our fun. The visibility was pretty good until the last slope when we dropped into the fog but the snow was absolutely wonderful right to the bottom. Henry came behind us by about 20-minutes by which time it had cleared leaving Henry a clear and fabulous run top-to-bottom. Nice one Henry as it was brave going out there not knowing if it would clear or not, and you got your reward! We finished off with a brilliant, dynamic piste ski as the snow was perfect, the piste was empty and David and Michele were egging me on. I thought it was a great morning, especially considering what the forecast had been, as we had some excellent spring snow and the pistes were perfect.

Andreas and Thomas were off this morning but Andreas was skiing with a friend and the last I heard they were enjoying a great lunch and a bottle of wine in Les Brevieres.

It’s drizzling in the village at the moment, which is great news as it will be snowing upstairs, and it is forecast to get colder. Stay tuned for some powder news tomorrow!

PS Andreas reported a terrific run in the Piste Perdue at 4PM with 5cm’s and counting. It’s looking good already for tomorrow!

18 April 2013
A slightly better freeze led to a change of scenery!

We had a slightly better freeze, although it was still very light, and after two consecutive mornings around Bellevarde and the Fornet it was time for a change. Andreas and I headed to Tignes and dived into the Sachette for the first time in ages, and it was clean with lovely spring snow. By the time was exited the Sachette we needed to jump forward a couple of expositions and gain some altitude so we tried way out in the Campanules, which was excellent. I circled around for a second run while Andreas tested out the Familial, which was also terrific so Andreas came around for a second helping while my team finished our morning with the Familial. For a light freeze it was fantastic skiing and although we flirted with ‘quick-snow’ a couple of times we stayed afloat and enjoyed a great morning. (Chris was on piste today while Thomas had the morning off.)

The weather is forecast to change with clouds and rain in the village tomorrow before turning colder with snow on Saturday. Some fresh snow would be nice but I must admit to having enjoyed this sunny spell over the past week!

Needless to say I was well pleased with West Ham’s performance last night. Van Persie was off-side (so I’m told) but any honest Hammer fan would have taken a point before kick-off so I’m happy to be picking up points and edging closer to safety!

Stay tuned for more news, weather and sports tomorrow.

17 April 2013
Repetitious but wonderful skiing !

The main story at the moment (apart from what happened in Boston) is the incredible avalanche activity that’s going on around us. Today the risk was 3/5 moving to 4/5 between 10 o’clock and noon, and the afternoon slides are threatening roads and buildings. Yesterday the road to Bourg was closed for several hours after a massive avalanche covered the road around the dam, and a huge slide came across the road just above the Fornet cable car, which entertained all those enjoying their pissenlis salads, and just missed some berks who were walking along the closed trail late in the afternoon. Some of our best ‘classic’ spring slopes are dropping off and if we don’t get some negative temperatures there won’t be much left to ski.

As for today’s skiing it was similar to yesterday but we had another terrific morning after a slightly better freeze. My team skied the Face du Bellevarde while waiting for the Borsat to open, followed by a great run off the Jardin du Borsat Sud, then one above the Santons, another down the Face, one on the Mattis piste, one off the Laisinant, one in Henry’s Gulley in the Combe du Signal, and a cracking run in the Pays Desert followed by a fabulous piste blast to finish. It’s a little repetitious at the moment but damn fine skiing anyway, and with the weather it isn’t too hard to take!

It’s a big night at Upton Park as the Hammers take on Man United. We’ve played them tough so far this season, which could mean one of two things, first we’re due a point or three, or secondly we might be in for a tough night. Come on boys!

Gill’s having a tough time back in England as Katie came down with the gastro just as Millie was starting to feel better, and besides having sick children to deal with it’s making her work arrangements difficult. Good luck girls!

I’d like to say hello to Jean who is being missed by many and I know he’s missing the skiing, and to Ian N who just finished one of his best week’s ever!

We should have another lovely day with a minimal freeze tonight and 30 to 50cm’s of snow are forecast for the weekend. Look out!

PS Thomas had a great morning as well in the same neighbourhood with Bunny, Richard and Simon, while we crossed paths with Chris and Tejina throughout the morning too. Andreas was off but did some scouting in Tignes on his own, which was quite informative for tomorrow’s possibilities as a change of scenery is needed.

16 April 2013
I thought it was a cracking morning !

Radio Val reported a minimum temperature of 0 degrees at 2800 metres overnight, so we weren’t given many options this morning. After poking the snow on the top of Bellevarde my team of Blue, Mandy, Julian and David B were the first onto the Face du Bellevarde piste, which had the same sensation as perfect spring snow and we enjoyed it so much we circled back up for another run! From there we headed up Solaise and made our way to the Fornet via the Leissieres Express where we skied some nice snow on the way down to the Col poma. From the Col we hiked up for five minutes to access some great snow while Andreas and Thomas were arriving and skiing the opposite side and walking back up to the Pays Desert poma. We thought about going over the Col but after traversing to the Col and feeling how fragile the snow was already at that altitude, I decided not to go, which pleased Andreas as he didn’t want to go in the first place. Instead, we all had a brilliant run out wide in the Pays Desert followed by a cracking good run down on the piste. I thought it was a terrific morning with lots of mileage and pretty jolly good snow considering the lack of freeze. Mandy and Julian went off for a pissenlis salade but David announced that he doesn’t do salade, so I tried to bribe him like I do my children. And like my children he proved to be more than a little stubborn! Meanwhile, Chris was on piste with Tejina’s team and they had a great lunch at the Sachette, and I’m not too sure what Jean Marc was up to this morning.

Thanks John for supper last night and it was great to catch up with you, and Michele N is in town and will hopefully get some off-piste in later in the week.

Millie is feeling better and has joined Katie back at school this morning. Stay tuned for more news and photos tomorrow.

15 April 2013
Mostly spring with a great pitch of powder!

We had a warm night with a very light freeze, and because we’ve only had a day of real heat the transformation isn’t yet deep enough for the spring slopes to set up properly. There was still some excellent spring snow to be skied, but it will get better over the next few days with more heat and if we start to get some colder temperatures during the night. With that said, Thomas, Chris and I started with great spring snow around the top of Bellevarde, the meadows from the Borsat to the Grand Pre, and the Fontaine Froide before skiing the Face du Bellevarde en-route to the Fornet. We skied some lovely snow off the Laisinant before a great pitch in the Combe du Signal on the cornice by Henry’s Gulley. We then met up with Jean Marc who was coming out of the Pays Desert and we all headed over the Col for a combination of powder and spring snow. (See photos) It’s great to have JM back and he’s here for the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, Andreas headed towards Tignes and enjoyed some great skiing off Tommeuses, the Motte and the Genepy.

I risked a Belgian beer with the two Nina’s, Blue and Ian at the Brussells and I must say the first one went down a treat so I had a second! (Halves mind you) It’s absolutely baking this afternoon and after a winter of flat-light but wonderful powder, spring seems to have arrived with a bang. Fingers crossed for a good re-freeze and we’ll really be in business, but another mild night is forecast.

Thanks for the footie yesterday Geoff, what a match! And thanks also to Catherine and Patrick for drinks last night.

Millie has the gastro and unfortunately missed her first day back at school in England. She is on the mend and should be able to join Katie at school tomorrow. Have fun girls!

And well done Adam Scott for winning the Masters. It must have tasted extra sweet after his collapse at the Open when he was winning by four strokes with four to play.

14 April 2013
Yet another day of wonderful quality !

It was a day of transition and after today’s heat we should have some outstanding spring snow in the days to come, but today I decided to give the spring slopes and chance to set up and went for powder. I was en-route to the Glacier Pers but after testing the snow it was evident that the Pays Desert was in great shape so we had one out wide with a short ‘skin’ instead. It was excellent top-to-bottom and afterwards we headed over the Col on the easiest traverse imaginable. Once over the Col we traversed to the right and had a brilliant line all the way to the hike for the Grand Torsai. From the Torsai down we took the ‘funky’ route, which was clean and atmospheric. After the past few days of exceptional skiing I wasn’t expecting as much today, but we were all pleasantly surprised with another morning of fantastic quality! (See photos)

Chris was on piste today while Andreas was scouting out the state of things in Tignes, and Thomas and Henry were off this morning.

I’m on my way out to do some chores before watching footie at Geoff’s followed by drinks at Catherine and Patrick’s.

As for the weather, spring has arrived and after three stunning days of sunshine another week of clear blue skies are forecast!

13 April 2013
An outstanding morning with wonderful snow and ambience !

It snowed late yesterday afternoon and into the evening, followed by a good freeze before the skies cleared and it was ‘game on’ again today with fabulous snow and beautiful sunshine! After warming up off the Verte there was no doubt that the quality was equal to yesterday’s and feeling like a change of scenery we skied the meadows from the Borsat to the Grand Pre en route to a stunning Tour du Charvet. There wasn’t a track on the mountain and the top half leading to TJ’s Shoulder was superb, as was the ‘Shoulder’ itself, and from there down it was a little trickier but cracking good skiing nonetheless. We exited through the gorge to avoid the avalanche debris, which is quite substantial, and we were treated to a herd of chamois passing by. (Chris and Henry were not far behind) Next up was an excellent Marmottons, followed by a nice run off the Mattis, one off the Laisinant, one on the shoulder in the Combe du Signal, and a fantastic Col Pers top-to-bottom to finish. It was another outstanding morning savoured by one and all! (Thomas was skiing with a pal and they were in the neighbourhood having a terrific time, and Andreas was off this morning)

Ian and I talked Richard F into trying his first-ever Salade Pissenlis, which went down a treat with a shared bottle of Rose. (Don’t laugh Colin and Derek) It was a great ending to a wonderful morning and all I need now is 1 point or 3 against Southampton this afternoon to round off a perfect day. Come on you Hammers!

I’m not too sure about the forecast but we’ll worry about tomorrow tomorrow. The photos are up and stay tuned!

PS I forgot to mention that we had a 102-turn pitch in the Col Pers. Brilliant !

PPS And what a great away point for the Hammers as they came from one goal down to equalise!

12 April 2013
Quite astonishing!

Out of the blue came one of the finest and most satisfying morning’s of the season. I can’t remember covering so much ground and making so many quality turns in a morning before. The snow wasn’t deep, between 10 and 20cm’s, but it lay on a perfectly smooth supporting base and we could ski non-stop and at pace all morning long. The first turn off the edge of the Verte signified a great morning to come, but I never quite expected it to be so good.

My team skied off the Mont Blanc, under the Borsat chair into the lower Borsat and meadows into Tignes, up the Motte to ski off the Genepy to the bottom, back up the Motte for two rotations on my shoulder, off the top of the Genepy before cutting over to the Cairn, a ‘Funky’ Familial, one of Andreas’ mini-Spatule’s and another Familial to finish at 12:45. Wow, what a morning!

Thomas and Chris were around the Motte and waited for the first cable-car while Andreas skied the Sache before we hooked up later in the morning. Andreas was in pretty good shape considering what he went through at the hands of Colin and Derek yesterday, (as was I for that matter) but with astonishing skiing no one was feeling sorry for themselves!

I skied potentially my last afternoon of the season today with Tim and we skied the Spatule, off the Mont Blanc piste, two rotations in the Jardin du Borsat, and Andreas’ mini-Spatule. Well done Tim and see you next season!

Suzanne is off to Normandy for a week so Chris will be hanging out with Jack Bauer as he tries to get through series 3 of ‘24’. Gripping stuff!

And finally a very happy birthday to my lovely wife Gill, who is celebrating with the girls, her parents, her sister and Wils and Rosie. Have a great day and brilliant meal tonight! This is the first birthday that we’ve been apart since her 30th, and she would have loved the ski today.

11 April 2013
Tough but great skiing under the circumstances!

It was another grey day and we headed upstairs to the Fornet for altitude and northerly options, which were necessary due to the extremely warm temperatures and yesterday‘s heat. We did as best as we could today under the circumstances and we all had a pretty jolly good ski. (see photos) I was ambushed by Derek, Colin, Steve, and the already under-the-influence Andreas, as well as Gideon this evening while en route to the shop to help Chris out, and ended up staggering home needing to support myself against pillars and taking some time out to sit down here and there. It was nothing compared to my chemical reaction with Blue a few years back, but it was a good reminder that I’m not the legendary party boy of 25-years or so ago. In fact, I’m a bit of a whimp these days! Anyway, I’ve made some internet bookings for the end of the season and hopefully my travel dates correspond with when and where I actually want to travel. Wish me luck and thanks Colin!

Stay tuned for confirmation tomorrow!

PS My girls and Ray returned safely to the UK yesterday, and although I’m enjoying the peace and quiet, I do miss them already!

PPS It looks like an exciting start to the Masters in Augusta. Does anyone remember Caddy Shack?

PPPS Ian won a ‘skier of the day’ award today with a solid performance. He was well pleased and said he’s never won the prestigous award before but has won the ‘splat du jour’ award several times in the past. I picked up a ‘dog of the day’ award for skiing badly from start to finish, but with the poor vis got away with it as no one seemed to notice!

11 April 2013
10 April 2013
An outstanding morning had by all!

It’s a short one as I’m off to the airport shortly. But, we all had a brilliant day with wonderful sunshine and stunning snow! My team skied the Epaule du Charvet (while waiting for the Fornet to open), the Super L, one off the Laisinant, the Combe du Signal, the Col Pers, and the Combe du Signal to finish. Chris did an excellent job opening the Col Pers, which was impressive at the entrance and had the pitter-patter effect. All the boys more or less skied variations of the same this morning and it was a cracking session of ‘maximum’ turns.

Andreas was in pain but managed his morning, well done you tough little Viking! And thanks to Red Ray for giving up his powder to ski with Millie and Katie while Gill finished packing.

We had a great lunch at the Burger bar and we’re getting ready to leave. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow and the photos are up.

9 April 2013
Fresh snow, flat-light, but great skiing!

A good 15 to 20cm’s fell overnight, perhaps a little more in places, and with decent visibility towards the Fornet the team headed that way for a change of scenery. We had a good warm-up off the Laisinant and in the Combe du Signal but unfortunately by the time we arrived on the glacier the weather had moved back in and with snow falling it quickly became another day of flat-light to deal with. Andreas and I stayed around the Combe 3300 for three rotations as we had some great skiing and had laid down our markers for navigational purposes, while Chris headed out into the Pays Desert on his own and Henry was out there in the flat-light as well. Andreas caught his ski on some frozen debris and started to feel his knee being stressed. To protect himself he threw himself down but unfortunately hurt his ribs and winded himself in the process. He didn’t look good but x-rays confirmed that he hasn’t broken anything and he’s going to try to ski tomorrow. Good luck Andreas!

I had another great afternoon with Tim and with the poor vis we hung around Bellevarde and did several rotations between the jumps in the closed Snow Park, which was pisted with 25cm’s on top. We ran into Stephen, Kaye and the two Daves, plus Gideon, all of whom were braving the elements as it got pretty wild by the end of the afternoon.

We’ve enjoyed a very stable period with risks around 1 and 2, but it is all changing with the new snow, combined with very strong winds this afternoon. Well need to be careful tomorrow but at least the sun is forecast to help us avoid trouble.

I had a fabulous candle-light dinner last night with Geoff D before watching the Man U v Man City match. The dinner listed below was gorgeous and the wine was stunning. Thanks very much Geoff!

Confit de canard
Two types of lentils
Pommes rissoles ( with duck fat)
Montgomery cheddar, Abondance, Bleu de Maurienne

2001 Kientzler Osterberg Grand Cru
1996 Clos des Papes -Avril

And thanks to Clive for inviting my girls to his birthday party last night. They had a great time and it was nice to see the Ellis’ again before they left today, and of course your lovely daughter Georgina who’s here visiting from Hong Kong, and Mark and his wife Courtney.

I’d better sign off as my girls are leaving tomorrow!

8 April 2013
A welcomed result after yesterday!

After a tough day yesterday we were all hoping for a change in fortune, but none of us expected such a good ski this morning. Yesterday afternoon’s blast of sun set up the spring slopes nicely and after a good freeze the spring slopes were ready to go. With overcast skies and no sun to soften the snow we were aided by the fresh snow falling that ‘ate’ into the frozen surface layer giving us a lovely texture no matter what the exposition. Chris, Andreas, Henry and I all headed towards the Sachette for some lovely powder up high, followed by fantastic spring snow the rest of the way to the bottom.. We then had a bonus run on perfect ‘spring’ through the par-avalanche and the rest of the boys braved a little fog to ski the Alti-port while I cut in lower down at the bridge then skied a funky route through the trees into the Piste Perdue. After yesterday’s trails and tribulations I’d give today a ‘brilliant’ rating!

I skied with Tim this afternoon and Andreas had mentioned that the Campanules was in good nick so we skied that twice, followed by the Familial, and we had great snow and the always welcomed ‘light-bulb’ above us lighting out way. We came back up for a little technique to finish and ran into Tansy who was skiing with Peter C’s children, and there is absolutely no doubt who their father is. Wow!

The girls are having a little party with some of their friends and the Mum’s are here as well so I’m at Chez Ray’s doing the update. Ray has been brilliant with the girls and is a real natural. Thanks for your help Ray!

It’s snowing quite nicely at the moment and we should be in for some good fresh snow in the morning. Stay tuned!

And Happy Birthday Clive!

PS I forgot to mention that Kaye stepped out of her ski at a very inopportune moment and went head-first for about twenty metres through the grass and dirt. Fortunately she didn’t hurt herself and popeed up and dusted herself off, but she will need to wash the mud of her new ski gear. Sorry Kaye! (See photos)

7 April 2013
Not the easiest!

It was one of the tougher days of the season with fog just about everywhere, or where I was anyways until late on. It was forecast to clear so I optimistically headed off with Henry to ski spring snow around the Cocaine and Glattier. Unfortunately it didn’t clear and we had to ski it in a fog, which made it more delicate than it actually was. Thanks very much to Henry for taking my group while Steve and I bypassed the Glattier and stayed on the piste. I then circled back and had a nice run in the Jardin du Borsat as the sun finally made an appearance.

Thomas did a great job as he went off to ski the Pointe des Fours, which was a brave move when he was all alone. Fortunately he had decent light most of the morning and didn’t have any stress with the navigation. Bravo Thomas! Andreas headed to the Motte but couldn’t ski his couloir due to the fog and he circled back around to ski the Pisteur’s instead. Chris had the day off and I must say it was a good one to miss, although there was some good skiing out there if you lucked into the vis.

The girls are out for their last Club des Sports session and they are going to miss their lives here as they leave next Wednesday, and I’m going to miss them, contrary to what I say occasionally.

Ness and Victor came by with Tansy today and I receive a fabulous cuddle from Ness. Thanks Ness, it was just what I needed after arriving in a fog to the Gourmandine!

It’s a big day in the Premiership and the Hammers are kicking off right now. Come on boys!

PS And thanks for a fab meal last night Laura, it was a brilliant evening!

PSS I just saw Thomas’ photos from this morning and he lucked out and had vis and sunshine all morning long, with great snow! And what a good point for the Hammers away to Liverpool!

6 April 2013
A beautiful day for Gill's return!

I worked all day and just got in at 5PM and am off for dinner shortly to Doctor Laura’s, so it will be a short one tonight. Gill managed her first day skiing for 18-days and with beautiful blue skies and 15 to 20cm’s at the Fornet, she had a cracking good return. It started off a little panicky as she phoned me at the Gourmandine at 8:50 to say the Millie had lost her house and ski locker keys and that she needed to go to Jean Sports to get them skis. Fortunately Ray volunteered and went home to sort it out while the rest of my team warmed up with some lovely snow off the Laisinant before skiing one under the Bubbles from the Pyramid while we waited for Gill and Ray to catch us up. They arrived pronto and we all skied an excellent run in the Combe du Signal before joining Chris up on the Glacier. After a 10-minute ‘skin’ in the Pays Desert we had 20cm’s of wonderful winter powder and it remained good all the way to the bottom. We then dived over the Col, which was equally good and the bonus was good skiing from the Grand Torsai down, which of late has been dreadful. Gill skied really well and thoroughly enjoyed being back out there, and Fay has made some excellent progress this week. Bravo girls! And I must say Chris’ team of Chris D’s crew did a superb job this morning and left perfect tracks everywhere they travelled.

Andreas and Henry were off ‘couloir hunting’ again this morning and had some great skiing. Andreas is skiing with Derek, Paul and Andy while I’m not too sure who Henry is entertaining, and I think Thomas had the day off.

Gill was invited to come along this afternoon with Adam and Tom, and we were lucky with the sun following us about as we skied off the Laisinant, the Grand Vallon, the Combe du Signal, the Pays Desert, and then the Solaise piste to finish. (I unfortunately forgot my camera’s battery in the charger this morning but did manage some photos this afternoon.)

Millie had a bit of an emotional goodbye to her school friends yesterday as she’s made some really good little French girlfriends, and she’s going to miss them.

I had a wonderful drink’s session with Ellie, her Mum and Dad, Audrey and Rolf, along with her two daughters Jesse and Lara. It was great to see them all again and we had some good laughs. They’re all on good form and enjoying life.

5 April 2013
Happy Birthday girls!

It was another grey day and we weren’t really expecting very much, but we all had a surprisingly good day. Chris and I headed to the Sachette and had lovely powder for the first half before turning to the sunny-side for some excellent spring snow all the way to the bottom. From there the sun appeared giving us even better spring snow through the par-avalanche followed by a cracking good Familial to finish.

Andreas went off ‘couloir hunting’ in the Chardonnet and around the ‘Wall’ while Thomas and Henry were both skiing around the Grande Motte. North remains powder or soft winter snow while the sunny-expositions are supporting with good spring snow, especially down low and with the dusting of fresh snow the sun wasn’t totally necessary to have a good feel underfoot, so all the boys had a choice and found great skiing today.

Gill took Mel for a walk up the Manchet to watch Katie’s cross-country this afternoon and I went along but stayed out of Mel’s way as she’s totally nuts! It’s incredible how much energy she has and what a good basketball player she has become. Bravo Mel! It’s the girls last day of French school today as they return to England next Wednesday and start school on the 15th. Boy that was a quick winter!

It’s John and Margaret’s daughter Dawn’s 50th birthday today, and she shares a birthday with Kaye, so Happy Birthday girls!

More of the same is forecast weather-wise over the next few days but as long as we can see we should have some excellent skiing to look forward to. Stay tuned!

PS Chris worked this afternoon and found a lovely stash of fresh snow but I won’t tell you about it until tomorrow!

4 April 2013
Grey skies but just enough light!

Our luck ran out as far as the sunshine goes but we did have a ‘light-bulb’ above us for most of the morning giving us enough vis to make the most of it. I couldn’t return to the Sache/Sachette today as we’ve skied it several time over the past week so Chris and I headed up to the Motte via some nice turns off the Mont Blanc. I took the cable-car and skied the Rosolin before ‘skinning’ out and skiing across the glacier, which was excellent, and Chris joined me from underneath. We then hiked up for a little Borsat West and had some nice snow on the north facing slopes. Chris tested the Familial on the way home, thanks Chris, and reported back that it wasn’t worth it so I stayed on piste and bored my group with a half-hour of technique. It was great to ski with Harry Upton again, who I haven’t seen in years as he’s been off touring with JM and Oli. Harry brought his 18-year-old niece Izzy along and she had a good time ‘skinning’ for the first time. (As did Paul)

Andreas started off with the Couloir de Pisteur, which his team handled well, before joining Henry in the Sachette, where they had powder up top followed by some firm supporting spring snow down below. ‘Spring’ is happening at lower altitudes but without sun it remains hard, but gentle slopes such as the lower Sache are very pleasant to ski when firm, as compared to steep slopes like those found in the Tour du Charvet, which would be very uncomfortable to ski when firm. Good call boys! Thomas was back off-piste and had some nice winter snow on the north side of Mont Roup. Good to see you again Thomas!

Chris and I had a nice surprise as Russell and Charlie came by to say hello and goodbye. I haven’t seen Charlie in at least 15-years and he looked fantastic with a twinkle in his eye and it was obvious that he’s enjoying life. Both he and Russell are legendary characters in this town and we go back over 30 years, and it was wonderful to see them both.

I’m not too sure about tomorrow’s weather but sunshine or snow will do, none of this in-between rubbish! Stay tuned!

3 April 2013
An unexpected day of beautiful sunshine!

The day started off cloudy but with with lighter patches above we were hoping for some vis, but we were totally delighted to break into clear blue skies upstairs. All of a sudden a potentially tricky day had huge and much appreciated potential. Chris and I headed up to the Glacier Pers and when we arrived at the Col there was an amazing sea-of-cloud below, and I thought it might cause a little trouble later on but it burnt off in about five minutes. The skiing on the Glacier Pers was excellent again today all the way to the cut out line and we took our ‘funky’ route down from the Grand Torsai for ambience.

I’ve never seen such a dreadful track up the Glacier Pers before as whoever cut it zig-zagged back and forth across the best line and ruined a lot of potentially great skiing. What a bummer! There is a ridge to follow, which leaves two perfect halves and maximizes the skiing and to see one half destroyed by a poor track was disappointing. Anyway, it was still great skiing!

Meanwhile Andreas and Henry ‘skinned’ up to the Balmes des l’Ours and had a fantastic ski down. North is still excellent and Andreas reported that the spring slopes still need a few more days to come around, which would open up some options, although we should get some more snow in the meantime.

I skied the Combe du Signal and Col Pers with Adam and his son Tom this afternoon while Chris was out in the Pays Desert with a new client Olivier.

The forecast is for a grotty day tomorrow but we’ll wait and see.

2 April 2013
Unexpected sunshine and great skiing!

We had a bonus day of sunshine today that wasn’t really expected and everyone made the most of it. The two main options this morning were either the Sachette or the Glacier Pers, and the boys covered both options beautifully. After being at the Fornet yesterday Chris and I headed to the Sachette via the Borsat Nord, and had a brilliant ski top-to-bottom. I was surprised to find powder on the northern-side all the way down, even at the lowest altitude. We finished off with a surprisingly good Familial and it was another great morning.

Meanwhile, Andreas and Henry chose the Glacier Pers and they had a fantastic morning as well. With blue skies, sunshine, excellent snow, and wonderful scenery, it was a terrific morning. I ran into Jean-Pascal this afternoon from Henry’s group and he thoroughly enjoyed his ski. Thomas was boarding today but I haven’t heard how he got on.

I skied with Adam and his 13-year-old son Tom this afternoon, and we skied off the Mont Blanc, the Familial twice, and a sneaky Spatule. Young Tom is doing really well and besides being a great little skier, he’s a superb golfer as well. Bravo Tom!

Hopefully we’ll get lucky with the weather again tomorrow as vis will make life so much easier as our options start to dwindle. Stay tuned!

1 April 2013
A wonderful ski with blue skies!

The brief period of sunshine late yesterday afternoon played havoc with the snow and ruined some potentially great slopes. North remained protected but other expositions needed precise route finding to ski safely, meaning not putting people’s knees at risk, but the boys chose well and came up with a great morning of skiing.

My team had a good warm-up of the Laisinant followed by some lovely snow in the lower Combe du Signal before heading up to the Glacier. I decided to head over the Col straight away and we skied some nice snow before climbing up and over the Col. You could ski in, which is a rarity, and the Col Pers was superb all the way to the Grand Torsai. From the Torsai down wasn’t as bad as expected and the first half was pretty good, but the bottom half was ‘educational’ to say the least but we managed and it was a great outing. From there we circled back and skied some excellent snow on the northern slopes of the Jardin du Borsat before finishing with a ripper on the piste. (See photos)

Chris skied the Pays Desert with Stephen P’s family before coming over the Col while Henry made the best of things up at the Fornet by choosing good lines. Andreas headed towards Tignes and had a great run down the Sache and managed to make it to the bottom without too much trouble, and finished up in the Spatule. It wasn’t good everywhere this morning and I thought the team did a cracking job today, bravo boys! (Thomas was on piste this morning with some kids and he showed them a terrific time.)

The girls have had a lovely Easter Monday off school. They spent the morning scooting around the tourist office with Grace and Emilia, and then good old Ray took them for a big ski this afternoon as Gill is not ready to ski yet. Again they hooked up with the twins at the end of the day and showed up home at 5.30 pm ! Back to school tomorrow for their final 4 days.

A big thanks to John and Margaret for a really lovely evening last night. The girls did egg painting and we all had a wonderful Sunday roast, superb effort. Can’t quite believe that both girls slept in until 8.15 this morning !

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